Minister of Education Fayval Williams recently reiterated the circumstances under which public schools will begin classes, with students remaining at home and receiving the teaching and distance learning experience in a number of different ways.
According to Williams, lessons will also be broadcast on dedicated channels on TVJ and CVM, cable networks, and radio stations. The education ministry will publish a schedule of the lessons on its website, its social media platforms as well as in the newspapers.
The schedule will also be emailed to principals, teachers, and to the students. The Ministry says it will also be providing learning kits for students to utilise along with their textbooks and worksheets at home.
These distance learning materials will be made available through the schools for pick up during the first week of remote learning. Students who live in deep rural parts of the island and have to depend on printed materials only will receive special worksheets and practice books that will be printed and distributed to them through their schools.
This was disclosed during a virtual press conference recently, where it was also announced that under the National Textbook Loan Scheme and the Primary Textbook Programme, the Ministry will be providing educational resources including electronic resources such as apps at a cost of approximately $626 million for the primary level and $200 million for the secondary level for the 2020/2021 academic year with distance learning.
At the lower primary level (Grades 1-3), the usual workbooks are being provided for Integrated Studies and Mathematics. The Ministry will provide workbooks for the upper primary level at Grades 5 and 6.
It says this will assist in alleviating the financial challenges being faced by parents during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, a blended approach including in class and distance learning, which will be phased, is being used at the secondary level and adequate resources including eBooks and other e-content will be provided for the various subject areas at a cost of approximately $200 million, said the Ministry.
The following 38,000 ebooks are being procured for the new school year for the specified subject areas at the secondary level: Separate Science – Grade 9 Students, English Language – Grades 7 – 11 Students, Principles of Business – Grades 10 & 11 Students, Principles of Accounts – Grades 10 & 11 Students.
Most of the distance learning ebooks this year are flat books (PDF) and thus are not interactive. Students who received hard copy books will not receive ebooks once both become available.
Williams said the Government will continue to provide nutritional support to students on Programme of Advancement Through Health and Education (PATH) through Nutrition Products Limited.
Additionally, the Ministry said funds for lunch will be paid to the accounts of parents through the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.